Saturday, 2 January 2010

New Year, New Patterns, New Skills!

Happy New Year!!

Yes - I've been very busy! All kinds of busy in fact; looking after Mum while Dad was in hospital (heart problems - he's home now and keeping well with lots of medication!); having an operation myself (arthroscopy to trim cartilege tear in my right knee, and they also diagnosed arthritis); and (of course!!) designing knits and writing patterns!

Since I last posted I have published 3 patterns - two double-knitted scarves and a beret. You may realise from the images below that I have also invested in a new camera and have put a lot of effort into taking good photos with it to show off my designs:

Falling Flowers:

Sky at Night:

And Lórien:

I've also invested in a decent camcorder, and have started to make technique videos for lefty knitters. The one I've 'embedded' below is about the long-tail cast-on. This is part of my growing mission to make available clear and correct teaching material for lefty knitters. It seems (from what I see in Ravelry) that lefties are often pushed to learn knitting in the right-handed direction due to a combination of the erroneous widespread notion that mirror knitting involves lots of pattern translation, and because of a lack of left-handed teachers, or at least teachers who caqn teach lefty knitting styles. While many lefties are fine knitting in the same direction as right-handers many lefties are not, and I've now (mostly via Ravelry) come across many who gave up on knitting until they tried it mirror-style.

Anyway - here is my first half-decent technique video. While there are still a few issues to work on (camera shake and lighting) I think this one is good enough for public viewing, so I've uploaded it to YouTube.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Centered Double Increase

I designed this blanket square intending to enter it for The Knitter magazine's competition in aid of MacMillan cancer support. Unfortuantely I was so busy preparing for a coffee morning I hosted for the same cause that I didn't finish the square and pattern before the competition deadline. So, I have instead posted the pattern in Ravelry for all to access as they please.

The square uses an increase method that I devised earlier this summer for some armwarmers I'm knitting (I'll post about these sometime soon). As the increase is so unusual (possibly unique) my sister has helped me to produce this video tutorial for the increase to accompany the pattern. She did the knitting (as I'm a mirror knitter a video of me doing it would be very confusing for most) while I did the voice-over.


I can finally post pictures of the socks that Lark commissioned me to design for The Joy of Sox. They've given me the pictures you see below to use as blogger fodder and for general blowing of my own trumpet! Unfortunately they don't show the details of the heel and foot as weel as the ones they used for the book, but you get the idea. They have named them 'Snow Bunny', I think because the colours are reminiscent of the Playboy Bunny girls, and because they take the narrow diamond border pattern on the legs to be similar to the symbols used on maps showing challenging ski pistes.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Gosh - it's rather dusty in here!! I didn't realise it was quite so long since my last post here. I get so caught up in my knitting groups, posting at my Potter blog and in Ravelry that I forget this one. Which will not do as it is referenced in the bio section of The Joy of Sox, the Lark Books publication featuring a design by Yours Truly (they've called the design 'Snow Bunny'!).

Well, what have I been doing since February? Knitting and spinning of course! One wonderful experience was learning how to spin superfine lace yarn with Anne Baron from Bradford Guild. I can now spin yarn as fine as hair!!

Another highlight was UK Ravelry Day in Coventry in June. This was a marvellous day at which I attended inspiring talks by Meg Swansen and Debbie Bliss, as well as meeting lots of wonderful Ravellers, including the famous designer Jared Flood, aka Brooklyn Tweed:

I designed some full-length British-themed gloves for the fashion show at Ravelry Day. Jade silk with a red rose for England, red wool with a daffodil for Wales, and white wool with a thistle for Scotland (alas - I have no pics of these last ones to show you).

I plan to publish the pattern, either via Yarn Forward magazine (negotiations ongoing) or via Ravelry and my new website (which I will link in the sidebar here at some point!)

Of course I have lots of other knitting on the needles, much of it self-designed, especially as I am still putting together a book proposal. I've also taken on knitting a shawl for Mum who had knitted it rather badly and wants a better version to wear. Very sadly I think she is beginning to lose skills as she ages. I frogged it earlier today and am now off to wash the yarn prior to reknitting it.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Recent Knits

As I haven't been posting very regularly (!) I have again quite a few finished projects to share.

Firstly, I did finish Tom's scarf during the Christmas break, so he has been able to benefit from it's super-warmth during the recent snow!

Christmas knitting 001

One skein of my indigo-dyed yarn made this Swallowtail Shawl designed by Evelyn Clark(this one is for me!):

Swallowtail Shawl 003

Another skein made this scarf for Mum (modelled by my dear twin-sister). I found the pattern on Ravelry - it's called 'The Waltz':

Mum's scarf

Odd sock yarn remnants made these hats for Bonnie Babies (UK Special Care Baby charity). They are based on a design by my wonderful Danish knitting friend, Kaae:

Hats for SPEW

The yarn I span with wool from Freyalyn made this 'Morning Surf Scarf' from Spin-off magazine:

Morning Surf Scarf

And I finally knitted the Ravenclaw Quidditch Socks from Charmed Knits that I've been lusting after since I got the book from my son last Christmas:

Quidditch socks

Next post - 'On the Needles' - embarrassingly more projects than permitted by my usual '5 or less' rule of thumb!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

And then there were three...

Columns in my blog, that is! I've used a wonderful online tutorial to edit the template setting so that I could add the sidebar you see on the right. That way I can now make a better job of showcasing my patterns. Because the tutorial was so clear this was a lot easier than I anticipated.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Double Knitted Bookscarves

I've spent a lot of time before Christmas and in January working on my skills in double knitting (see the video tutorial in the advanced techniques section at for basic instruction). Having progressed to the middle section of Tom's scarf I received in the post a version of it for my nephew, made by a Danish knitting friend, Heidi Bybeckmann. This scarf was so beautiful and so perfectly executed that it sent me to my needles to swatch, swatch, swatch in an attempt to emulate her amazing skill. However, only after seeking advice from the Master Knitter herself did I manage to recreate the beautiful corded edges and approach anywhere near her even tension. My two-handed yarn management (which I swear by for fairisle) was not working well for double knitting, and my single-stranded edge stitches were making the edges messy.
Armed with this new knowledge about how to do double knitting I designed and knitted these Hogwarts bookscarves to practice with:


Gryffindor bookscarfHufflepuff bookscarfRavenclaw bookscarfSlytherin bookscarf


Gryffindor bookscarf reverseHufflepuff bookscarf reverseRavenclaw bookscarf reverseSlytherin bookscarf reverse



4ply/Sock yarn in House Colours as shown Main colour = Colour A, Contrast colour = Colour B
2mm needles


Cast on: Make 18 stitches in each of the two colours for the bookscarf (36 stitches in total), alternating the colours with every stitch. Any two-colour cast-on will do. (I do a very fiddly thing with Judy's magic-cast on to make a cast-on that looks like the back and front were knitted as one long piece and then just folded and seamed at the edges. I'll explain that technique in another post.)

First row: Slip the first stitch knitwise, then alternate knit then purl stitches as when working K1P1 rib, but work all the knit stitches with Colour A, and all the purl stitches with Colour B until the last stitch. Purl the last stitch with both colours held together.

Second and subsequent rows: Slip the first (doublestranded) stitch knitwise. Working a knit stitch first again alternate knit and purl stitches, but working the stitches in whichever colour is required as follows:
On the right side work all knit stitches in the colour shown on the chart, following each knit stitch with a purl stitch in the other colour (i.e. not the colour that was used for the knit stitch). On wrong sides work all the knit stitches in the opposite colour to that shown on the chart following each knit stitch with a purl stitch in the other colour (i.e. not the colour that was used for the knit stitch).
Purl the last stitch with both strands held together.

Cast off: Any cast off will do. I like to separate the stitches so the stitches from each side are on different needles, then graft the two sets of stitches together with Kitchener stitch.

Weave in all ends, and you're done!

Charts: (these link to my flick account - please feel free to download larger versions of the charts from there for your own, non-commercial use)


Enjoy your Potter reading!